About Gwendolyn Craig

Gwen is an award-winning journalist covering environmental policy for the Explorer since January 2020. She also takes photos and videos for the Explorer's magazine and website. She is a current member of the Legislative Correspondents Association of New York. Gwen has worked at various news outlets since 2015. Prior to moving to upstate New York, she worked for a D.C. Metro-area public relations firm, producing digital content for clients including the World Health Organization, the Low Income Investment Fund and Rights and Resources Initiative. She has a master's degree in journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She has bachelor's degrees in English and journalism, with a concentration in ecology and evolutionary biology, from the University of Connecticut. Gwen is also a part-time figure skating coach. Contact her at (518) 524-2902 or gwen@adirondackexplorer.org. Sign up for Gwen’s newsletter here.

Reader Interactions


  1. Rebecca A Evans says

    Heck no. People are breaking the rules everywhere . Not only are they breaking the rules with multiple accounts, they are booking out the full two weeks just to get the few days-week that they want, and not canceling the days they aren’t going to be using. Campgrounds across the state are seeing 1/3 to sometimes 1/2 of sites sitting empty for days upon days at a time. Prime sites that another family would kill for. If the campgrounds would enforce the no show upon 9 pm of the first night reservation, and forfeit these sites back into the system, other families could have the chance to camp. It’s too hard to get sites, and many go a season without camping. And you want to make it harder?

    • Heather Grass says

      Totally agree. It’s next to impossible to reserve sites. Considered purchasing a camper but changed my mind when I saw how booked up everything near me is. System needs work to make it fair for all.

    • E.Visconte says

      Really?kinda like squatting! Canadians and Whomever occupying for that long is bullcrap. The WORKING TAXPAYING AMERICANS can’t and don’t stay that long. Also if these are prime sites then who gets screwed again. Quit biting the hands that feeds this state

  2. John Murray says

    Please don’t do this, it’s damn near impossible to get a site and now the DEC is closing additional sites for “Campsite restoration” or expanding prime sites together for “family sites”. Get real! Everyone needs a chance to book their favorite site and expanding past 14 days just kills opportunity for everyone else. Stop all of these progressive ideas it just isn’t right.

  3. Steve Johnson says

    So the solution to people staying longer than allowed is to allow them to stay longer?
    Only the government would think this is a solution.

    • Paul says

      I totally agree, this seems insane, and they don’t even indicate how long – “longer” would be?? How can you comment on something where they don’t give you the most important piece of information?

  4. Lisa says

    Agreed w Rebecca’s post on the 9pm (or call the park office for a late arrival), and have experienced this overstay situation at FLX state campgrounds as well. Physically being in the site should be required as we have seen people use a nearby site for boat or dinghy storage. If DEC does do extensions then it should not be for premium sites.

  5. Donald says

    I definitely disagree with Rebecca about enforcing the 9pm rule. People cannot control what happens on the road as they’re traveling. Flat tires, accidents medical emergency’s. Happen all the time. So enforcing the 9pm rule is ridiculous.
    I’m retired I can camp at any time. I book all my trips well in advance. An sometimes a few days before I head out. And my trips are all on prime sites “water front” I’ve never experienced an issue with doing so. And I love camping for 14 nights and beyond. I spend thousands on camping trips. It’s my sport it’s my Mental therapy. And certainly my passion.

    After the campgrounds close for the winter. I head south and spend my winter’s camping in the south.
    My biggest dislike is commercial generators they’re loud extremely obnoxious and disturb the peace of the Adirondack mountains. They should be banned and not allowed at all. If you can afford $100,000 set up and you buy some cheap generator because you use it for camping only you can afford a Camping Generator and the cheapest ones I can tell you about is harbor freight. Loud obnoxious generators should not be allowed at all in any campground and there’s people that cry poverty but your rig is $80,000. I think you can afford a couple hundred dollar generator it’s designed for camping and the state really has been very laxed on enforcing the rule that’s already on the books about obnoxious generators, deemed unreasonably loud.

  6. Lori Osgood says

    PLEASE do not extend the stay limit. BUT please do create a cancellation without refund for those who book a site and don’t show up within 24 hours of the reservation without notifying the park! It’s already near impossible to get a waterfront site. 14 days is plenty of time to enjoy a site. Let someone else enjoy it too!

  7. Dan Vitale says

    NO! Worst Idea yet. We abolished the old tent platform permit system in the early seventies. We need more access for more people, not special access for an entitled few. People will manipulate the system. It will be a mess. I vote NO.

  8. Mike says

    The DEC should hire OTAK again for a few hundred thousand to get an 80 page report on how to handle the campgrounds.

  9. Cynthia says

    First, we must write an email or letter to Josh Houghton as the article states, sharing with him our reasons for opposing this plan.

    Not a good idea. Extending the date will make finding a location even more difficult. Camping has become popular again, and there aren’t enough campgrounds for everyone. They need to enforce the 14-day rule. Make them vacate the property for 24 hours and then reenter. The campground caretakers are getting soft and look the other way.

  10. Ron says

    I agree that the “solution ” is not a solution at all & definitely shouldn’t be applied to prime sites. I would rather the State & DEC get with the times with Reserve America and actually post cancellations on the Reserve America site,particularly with prime sites.
    All your admitting is that you don’t have enough staff to enforce rules,or good enough internet to handle your workload.

  11. Kathryn Andrews says

    Dave McGrath who owns the CampADK.com website is one of the Canadians that has taken advantage of this misuse at Fish Creek Ponds. He was there the last week of June, the 1st two weeks of July and the 1st three weeks of August (at Site 106) and then he did not move from that site. He even had his CampADK sign in front of his site the whole time. He sells a Base Camp membership that has literally caused agita for non-members. His website has a cancellation formatter that members can use so the sites are picked up immediately and do not go out to the public (the members make arrangements with cancellations). Extending their stay is not a good idea. It is difficult enough to get a site for 2 weeks which we do every year and have been for 30 years. This year my brother and his family got a site on 7/23 and we could not get a site until 7/28! They only stay 1 week so we’re only with them a few days. The reservation system needs to be rectified. This should be annotated on ReserveAmerica and not only the DEC website….”From July 1 through Labor Day only 14 cumulative nights of camping can be obtained at any campground.” Cross reference their license plate numbers for their vehicle and trailers to see how many campers take advantage of this instead of emails; family/friend names…

    • Frank Lee says

      You complain about not getting a site the same time as your brother and you also complain about someone that helps notify you about cancellations which could have helped you. I would be more concerned about the deteriorating conditions of the campgrounds than the proposed extended stay thought.

    • Bill says

      How about NYS allowing state residents (who pay the taxes on these DEC campgrounds) to have first option on the reservation window like some other states follow.
      9 months out for residents
      6 months for out of state/country.

      Almost past years ago but deep pockets kept it from passing I guess.

  12. Nadia says

    Just make the reservation based on vehicle or trailer license plate number and name on the registration easy to verify with DMV. And have minimum and maximum days to stay , full charge no exception end of story.

  13. Tim J says

    Where does one start with the reservation system. We actually were only able to get a site a week before our camping outing. We had to book 4 separate camp sites to stay a Fish Creek for 7 nights. The first site we stayed at for 3 nights. Moved to another for one night. Then stayed at another site foe 3 nights. The first campsite remanded empty after we moved off it. NO TO EXTENDING STAYS. Approximately 1/4 of the 305 sites were empty during our stay. Firepit restoration is needed at so many sites. Sites that have been off line for some 10 years to book. Why not release sites after 9pm. Make getting a camping site not a struggle.

  14. Todd says

    Only NY would think this makes sense. For starters shorten the booking window for out of state and out of country campers, a fee increase is order as well. The 5$ additional out of state fee no longer cuts it. I don’t think all of these campgrounds are self sufficient so the ny taxpayers are taking it on the chin. The ideal of checking the camper plate for two weeks is absurd. Are they thinking I can’t lend my camper or share it with a family member? What about tents, should they need serial #s so the same tent isn’t in the campground for more then 14 nights. Fn ponderous

  15. Ken says

    While we’re complaining about absurd changes in campsite reservation rules consider this: Last week I was on my way to Lake Lila, but arrived in the area late. So I decided to spend the first night at Lake Eaton DEC campground, outside of Long Lake. At about 5 PM I walked up to the entrance booth and asked for a site for one night. The attendant told me they “can no longer accept walk-ins”. I would have to make a reservation at Reserve America. He let me in to look around for an empty site. There were many, but I decided the heck with it (or words to that effect) and drove to Horseshoe Lake, where I camped for free. You always used to be able to get a walk-in site if one was available. Why this sudden and ridiculous change?

  16. Tom says

    Bill, Many of us have friends and relatives that live out of state. We look forward to our annual affordable camping at our favorite DEC campground as we have since our parents introduced us to it. As a non-resident, they have to pay an extra nightly fee, presumably to help fund the campgrounds as your tax dollar does. Other states do this too and I can understand it. Your 6 month/9 month booking proposal seems selfish as you obviously are trying to eliminate competition to obtain a site. It’s not what’s good for you but what’s good for everyone. I hope that our annual DEC camping tradition can continue far into the future and on an even playing field.

  17. Paul says

    These tent platforms were not the “elite” – far from it. Just mostly regular folks that had a great opportunity to have a place almost like a real camp at a price anyone could afford. Elites don’t sleep in platform tents.

    I was sorry to see these go but Tom Monroe had the marching orders from Albany and he handled it as best as anyone could. He and his family had to live and work in Saranac Lake with people that were very upset about this. He was a man with real integrity, the DEC has never had another as good as him!

  18. Beverly Stellges says

    First of all, please bombard Albany DEC about campgrounds and the reservation system. However, the DEC is notorious for asking for opinions about proposed UMP’s for state land, state forests and campgrounds! Then they write up the UMP and approve it. However, they do NOT implement these plans! They get filed away and just sit there for years. The UMP for Buck Pond campground was approved in 2017 and NOTHING has been done. Bathrooms and showers are from the 1950’s and the dump station is disgusting! The UMP for the Saranac Lake Wild Forest approved years ago stated where campsites on Follensby Clear Pond and Pollywog Pond on Floodwood Road were not 1/4 mile apart by law and NOTHING has been done. Instead the DEC builds a NEW campground at the old Frontier Town site! No one in the DEC has a clue about camping and managing their campgrounds! Bureaucrats just looking for something to do!

  19. Jim says

    There is a simple solution to the problem of campers being allowed to break the rules.
    ENFORCE the existing rules. This is a typical NYS solution rather than enforcing the rules, change the rules to accommodate the rule breakers

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